Former Pakistan captain and fast bowling legend Wasim Akram admitted to his struggles with cocaine addiction after the end of his playing career in his upcoming autobiography – Sultan: A Memoir. Akram, 56, revealed he developed a dependence on cocaine while working as a television pundit around the world.
Extracts from his book, published along with an interview in The Times, disclose a lot a bout Akram’s addiction, which he says ended after the death of his first wife Huma in 2009.
“I liked to indulge myself; I liked to party,” Akram, arguably cricket’s greatest left-arm pacer and a Type 1 diabetic, was quoted. “The culture of fame in south Asia is all consuming, seductive and corrupting. You can go to 10 parties a night, and some do. And it took its toll on me. My devices turned into vices. “Worst of all, I developed a dependence on cocaine. It started innocuously enough when I was offered a line at a party in England; my use grew steadily more serious, to the point that I felt I needed it to function.
“It made me volatile. It made me deceptive. Huma, I know, was often lonely in this time. She would talk of her desire to move to Karachi, to be nearer her parents and siblings. I was reluctant. Why? Partly because I liked going to Karachi on my own, pretending it was work when it was actually about partying, often for days at a time.
“Huma eventually found me out, discovering a packet of cocaine in my wallet. ‘You need help,’ she said and I agreed. It was getting out of hand. I couldn’t control it. One line would become two, two would become four; four would become a gram, a gram would become two. I could not sleep. I could not eat. I grew inattentive to my diabetes, which caused me headaches and mood swings. Like a lot of addicts, part of me welcomed discovery: the secrecy had been exhausting. ”
Akram went to rehab, but that didn’t go well for him. “The doctor was a complete con man who worked. It was only after Huma’s death in 2009 that Akram put an end to his cocaine addiction.